Colombo (LNW): In a virtual address during the Leader’s Session of the Second Voice of Global South Summit, President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed appreciation for the invitation extended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, acknowledging India’s crucial role in orchestrating the event.
Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the summit, which witnessed the participation of distinguished leaders from various developing nations.
Reflecting on the significance of the inaugural Voice of Global South Summit, President Wickremesinghe praised India’s leadership, highlighting its positive impact in bringing global attention to the priorities of the developing world.
He also noted the successful outcomes of the G20 Summit under India’s presidency, which identified key priorities and diverse issues relevant to developing nations.
During his address at the First Summit, President Wickremesinghe underscored common challenges faced by the Global South, particularly economic issues such as difficulties in debt settlement and limited access to international financial markets.
He emphasised the importance of external assistance from multilateral institutions and developed economies, positioning India as a bridge between developing economies and G20 countries to address these challenges.
Providing an update on Sri Lanka’s economic progress, President Wickremesinghe mentioned the receipt of the first tranche of the IMF’s loan and progress in the Official Creditors’ Committee on Sri Lanka’s bilateral official debt.
He highlighted the complexity of the indebtedness issue, calling for collaboration between creditors and international financial institutions to find sustainable solutions.
Addressing the economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka, President Wickremesinghe presented the budget for the next year to the Sri Lankan Parliament, with a focus on improving the condition of the people, especially the vulnerable, amid the country’s most severe economic crisis in history.
Looking ahead, President Wickremesinghe emphasised the importance of attracting foreign investment and developing connectivity for long-term growth.
The Vision Statement issued with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to India this year focuses on promoting connectivity between the two economies across all sectors and between the people of both countries for mutual benefit.
President Wickremesinghe proposed a special focus on cooperation in digitalisation, recognising India’s leadership in this sphere. He expressed eagerness for advancements in digitalisation to contribute to both growth and entrepreneurship, as well as more effective governance.
The President concluded by expressing his best wishes for the summit’s success in deliberating on these crucial matters.